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Comments Welcome August 6, 2013

Posted by alwaysjan in Blogging, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Uncategorized.
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8 comments

Comments

I just noticed that I have over 2,000 comments in response to 219 blog posts. It’s no secret that the majority of comments are in response to my writing about Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Eliminating cursive writing from the curriculum doesn’t generate the emotional response as having discovered the person you thought you were in love with isn’t capable of love.

So, in honor of all of those who’ve shared their stories of the turmoil wrought by a close encounter with a narcissist, I thought it was worth commenting about comments. Your comments.

I’m a teacher by trade, not a therapist. I provide a listening ear. I’m a survivor. And ultimately, I’m an optimist. Sound good? You’ve come to the right place.

It’s interesting because in the summer of 2012, we had quite a lively discussion going on between commenters. I was on vacation and was so impressed with how everyone was so thoughtful in their responses and kind to one another. I was beginning to feel like I wasn’t even needed! However, when someone said, “Wow! This is a great forum!” I winced. I don’t need nor want the responsibility of monitoring a forum.

That said, I have a lot of people who stop by regularly to let people know how they’re doing. Or to offer solace and a pat on the back to someone else who’s still reeling from their involvement with a narcissist. Some of these people go back to Year 1 of my blog. They’re like old familiar friends and I’m amazed at how wise they’ve become. I’ve watched them work through the “What ifs” and WTFs and move on with their lives. This brings me joy.

I always try to respond to NPD-related comments within 24 hours. I remember how horrible I felt when I realized who/what I was dealing with. I’d been “had” and who would believe me?

But, here’s the deal. I hit the Edit button and write my comment on the bottom of the actual comment in italics. I do this because I don’t want to see my face appearing in the sidebar over and over again. The downside of this is when people sign up to Follow Comments, they don’t receive a notification that I’ve replied. They won’t receive a notification until another person comments on that post.

FYI: I must approve everyone’s first comment. Once that’s done, future comments are posted automatically, but I receive a notification.  Just in case. Only twice have I had to delete that first comment to block a flurry of rants that followed. I don’t like rants. Rants make my stomach churn. After a long day at school spent with 30 third graders, I don’t have much patience for adults who behave like bratty children.

When someone comments, I can see their email address. Maybe half a dozen times when someone was in severe distress, I emailed them to let them know I’d responded to their comment. I also eliminate most people’s last names from their comment. Just in case.

And yes, there are a few readers who I’ve allowed to contact me “off blog.” It’s amazing how most people’s writing voice so echoes their real one. So it was no great surprise that when I met up with Lesley, my most prolific commenter, in Scotland last month, she was just as warm and clever and wise as she was “on blog.” I also talked to Phil while in the UK and his sardonic wit was spot on as well.  It’s funny, because we have so much more to talk about than NPD now. Life has a strange way of moving on. Believe it or not, but you will not always feel like this experience is consuming/has consumed you. The future awaits.

Readers can usually learn more from the comments than they can from reading my posts. So read up. And thank you for commenting!

Always, Jan

Typeface for Comments is BigHouse. 

When Bloggers Die – A Belated Thank You July 10, 2012

Posted by alwaysjan in Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
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Teachers are frequently reminded that we DO Make a Difference (and I’ve got the mugs to prove it!). But as I write this, it’s not teachers I have in mind. Summer is my time to get organized. I was recently updating links on my blog and going through the myriad of websites I’ve bookmarked over the last five years in reference to Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

I’ve referred so many of my readers to Halcyon. So I was surprised to revisit the site and find that a page had been added in 2011 informing readers that its creator, Joanna M. Ashmun, died in 2009. How could I not have known? Halycon is written with style, heart, and professionalism. Joanna’s website (with footnotes, no less!) is so carefully researched that it’s hard to believe she is/was not a mental health professional.

Then I came across another blog I’d bookmarked, Operation Doubles, which I also found extremely helpful back when I was reeling from my close encounter with a narcissist. It was written by a Kathy Krajo, a professional tennis instructor and editor. When I pressed the link, I was referred to The Path Whisperer where I learned that Kathy died in 2008. Say it ain’t so.

While Joanna’s site Halycon still stands and a Facebook memorial site has been set up, Kathy’s blogs have been reprinted on a variety of other sites including Sanctuary for the Abused.  Both Joanna and Kathy were civilians in the trenches –  people who’d encountered more than their share of narcissists and felt a need to inform and warn the rest of us.

I just want to say kudos to two women who illuminated those dark corners of this disorder with their writing. They helped countless people (myself included) and showed how one doesn’t have to have a bunch of letters after one’s name to write coherently and oh so bravely about a subject that was rarely discussed even five years ago. I knew neither woman personally, but through their writing, I felt like I did.

Although I said this wasn’t about teachers, ultimately, that’s what both Joanna and Kathy were – teachers. They shared their experiences and observations so that the rest of us could learn from them. I’m deeply indebted to them. Their legacy is lasting.

Photo Credit: Leadsmall.org

Glad to Grad June 14, 2010

Posted by alwaysjan in Personal.
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7 comments

What a long strange trip its been since we started our masters in Educational Administration just a year ago. That was before I even knew what a cohort was. I liked to joke that, “We put the whore in cohort.”

Fourteen Powerpoint presentations is as close to Hell as you can get. Last Thursday was the final night of our final class. Tada! After Powerpoint presentation #6, my FSB (Favorite Study Buddy) Teresa whispered, “I think I’m going to throw up. I mean it.” I told her, first of all, to move away from me, and second, to step outside the room for some fresh air. She did and returned a paler shade of green. “So this is how the world ends,” I thought, “not with a bang, but a whimper.” I think someone else said that, but we all agreed that we’ve become much stupider since entering this program. “I don’t want to sound intelligent or anything” has become our mantra.

If Starbucks stock plummets, it’s because Thelma and Louise (AKA Teresa and Jan) are no longer refueling our engines every Wednesday and Thursday night. Even after a year, I still couldn’t remember the difference between a “large” and a “grande.” And Teresa complained her “CRS” was getting worse. “CRS?” I asked. “Can’t Remember Shit,” she replied. Yes, we teach small children. You should be scared.

I woke up on Saturday and for the first time in a year reveled in not having to write a reflection for a class like “The Machine as a Metaphor the Organization.” It was bad enough that we had to write our Action Research paper using APA format. I can hardly wait to delete Son of Citation Master from my bookmarks. Let’s face it, the person I’m most fond of quoting is myself. And when in doubt, go to Wikipedia.

We still have five weeks to assemble our digital portfolio, but the grunt work is done. My poor husband has been looking at the back of my head for a year as I sat at the computer cranking out paper after paper. “You know, if this was a two-year program, I’d be divorcing you,” he said matter-of-factly. Can you blame him? Not to mention how this program got in the way of my blogging. But “at the end of the day” (accompanied by air quotes), I’m back. I look forward to posting more frequently.

Brain in a Jar clipart is from Discovery School.com

Running on Empty February 7, 2010

Posted by alwaysjan in Teaching.
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4 comments

 

Getting my masters degree has seriously gotten in the way of the really important things in my life – like blogging.  For my my regular readers, I do have a lot of posts “in the works.”  There’s The Scarlet Letter – A is for Autism, The Narcissist as Nobody and the confessional tell-all,  I was a Difficult Parent.  I’ve also been working on a post on foot fetishism, which I became interested in when I saw the search engine terms people used to reach my Why is Horniness Coming from My Mom’s Feet post.  Actually, I just want an excuse to get a pedicure so I can use own feet in the preferred “fan pose” for the graphic.

I just passed the halfway point in my program.  If I can hang in there until June, I’m home free.  But in the meantime, I’m running on empty.

For all the teachers in my life, the clipart is from Discovery Education.

Best Friends Forever August 14, 2009

Posted by alwaysjan in Personal.
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Cathy - Have a great yea039

Someone needed to talk me off the ledge, and Cathy’s card arrived just in time.  A card for me?  Was it my birthday?  I actually had to think about this. Since I’ve been in my masters program and knee-deep in data, I’m not even sure what day of the week it is.  Wait a minute – my birthday is in April.  Now curious, I tore open the envelope.

Cathy’s a fabulous photographer, who’s usually stalking butterflies and other six-legged creatures with her camera.  While I visited her in Kansas City in July, she took pictures at the one-room school house at the Deanna Rose Children’s Farm, which she used for the card above.  You can find Cathy’s cards at It’s a Beautiful World.  I ordered several and they were top quality and arrived quickly.  But here’s what I didn’t know.  You can personalize the cards at no extra cost and and even change the message and the font, which is what Cathy did to the card above.

So here’s the personalized message that kept me from jumping off the ledge. I’m sure Cathy won’t mind me sharing it, and I won’t mind if you steal it, though I’m crossing out the stuff that might not apply to you.  For the record, I actually cried when I read it.

Dearest Jan,
I’ve really enjoyed our friendship through the years.
You’re so much fun and have a delightful, brilliant and hilarious
take on the world.  I’ve loved all of your tales of school and of your other adventures.
I definitely wish that I’d had a teacher like you!
It’s been great blogging along side you in cyberspace.
Your visit here was fabulous!
Hopefully, I’ll see more of you.
I’m so grateful I have you as my best friend forever!
Love, Cathy

FYI:  I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt and assuming that you are also delightful, brilliant and hilarious.  If your name is not Cathy, you might want to change that too.  First day of school, this will be sitting on my desk. Thanks Cathy!

You can find more of Cathy’s photos on Catherinesherman, which is on my blogroll.

My World is Flat January 7, 2009

Posted by alwaysjan in Blogging.
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4 comments

world1

I’ve always loved geography, especially if it involves sticking map pins in foreign countries that are then tethered in place with colorful yarn.  (But, that’s the teacher in me.)  Being a sucker for maps, I added the ClustrMap in the sidebar of my blog on Dec. 28th to show where visitors to my blog are coming from (geographically speaking, that is).  The stats upgrade daily (or almost), but the 12,194 visitors who came before I activated the ClustrMap aren’t accounted for.  I refer to them as The Missing.

According to ClustrMaps, every so often, a new cycle starts and The Map is wiped clean.  So one day The Map looks like it has the measles and then the next, there’s not a spot in sight.  This has freaked some bloggers out, so now Clustrmaps (which is free), notifies users ahead of time so they can prepare for this Cyber-geddon.  Bloggers, evidently, are a sentimental bunch and like to hoard copies of every measly (and measled) map on their hard drives.

I hope to see crater-sized circles soon, all but obliterating the earth as I know it.  (Sorry, but given Americans’ dunce status when it comes to world geography, I couldn’t bring myself to write WE).  

In the first week that I had The Map, I couldn’t help but notice that there were no dots on Africa.  My husband, who just finished reading Malcom Gladwell’s brilliant book Outliers, thinks this is because much of that continent’s population is busy gathering mongongo nuts (Gladwell) and having recreational sex (my husband).   No hits in Iceland?  Easily explained. Richard said they obviously lost all of their computers when the banks went belly up. And what about Alaska?  The only person I knew of by name from Alaska didn’t seem to be much of a reader. But, Richard is inclined to believe it’s because all those Alaskans are busy catching and gutting the few remaining fish on the planet.  The strange thing is that my husband is starting to make sense, which is taking some getting used to.

When I saw I a dot smack in the middle of Australia, I actually got out my atlas, as I knew all of the major cities are on the coast.  Could some aboriginal person be sitting atop Ayers Rock cruising the internet?  My friend Cathy had a different theory.  She imagined some poor sot working at a sheep station in the interior and the only other person within miles just happens to be a narcissist. (See Top Posts)  Then I wondered if a sheep could be narcissistic, and we didn’t want to go THERE!

So, wherever you’re coming from (geographically speaking or otherwise), welcome!  Thanks for stopping by my planet.

No Mo’ Snow January 3, 2009

Posted by alwaysjan in Blogging.
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needy-snowperson

Our friend Nora sculpted a trio of snowmen for us from Paperclay and we determined this one came across as the neediest. I'm just sorry that I can't make him talk the way Nora can.

It’s official.  The last Snow Day on WordPress blogs is January 4th.  My friend Elisse first told me about the “snow falling” feature, which I immediately activated.  I grew up slogging through snow and having my car spin out on icy roads.  I know all too well the smell of damp, sweaty wool.  

Since I’ve acclimated to California, I rather enjoy wandering out to the curb to pick up the newspaper in my bare feet  - in December.  Or complain that it’s FREEZING, when the temperature has plummeted to a measly 46 degrees. No sooner do the words come out of my mouth, then both my husband (who’s from Idaho) and I both burst out laughing.  What wimps we’ve become.

I’m sorry to see the snow go, as I liked having the power to control its direction using my cursor.  And come Monday, I’ll have 20 third graders to keep under control, with less predictable results.  Last night I fell asleep on the couch in front of a fire with the tree all lit up.  We’d already decided to take it down today so this was akin to attending a wake (something I’ve never done) or sitting shiva (something else I’ve never done).  In advance.

I’d taken some of the holiday decor down and was procrastinating about the rest.  Then yesterday I tripped on a wire reindeer made from coat hangers and meant to hold Christmas cards.  As I stumbled across the room with this bear trap with antlers latched to my foot, it all became clear.  It was time. So Christmas 2008 is a wrap.  No mo’ snow.

Planetjan in Pakistan? November 28, 2008

Posted by alwaysjan in Blogging, Politics.
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100_0749

No sooner had I put up my post “Barack Obama as American Mythology” then I received a request for an interview from Ghazala Khan atThe Pakistani Spectator (TPS).  “We at TPS are carrying out a new series of interviews with the notable passionate bloggers, writers, and webmasters.  In that regard, we would like to interview you, if you don’t mind,” he wrote.  Who, me? 

I checked out the link to the Pakistani Spectator, which seemed to me to provide relatively mainstream political and entertainment news.  There were interviews with several other “notable” bloggers (one was in Bakersfield – a known hotbed of radical activity – and he admitted to drinking copious amounts of alcohol), so I figured no fatwah would be forthcoming.  And there was that ad in the sidebar announcing that you CAN lose a pound a day without dieting.  It was right next to an on-line poll about what to do with those Talibans.  Here are the poll options:  Dialogue with Them, Crush Them, Let America Deal with Them, Give Them a Free Hand, Jirgas(?) and Limited Operations, or finally, I am Confused. 

I agreed to the interview and Ghazala Khan emailed me the interview questions, which required me to do some hard thinking.  Not an easy thing to do when you’re overwhelmed with Parent/Teacher conferences and Thanksgiving looms.  But I emailed my responses and woke up the next morning to find that the “Interview with Blogger Jan Marshall” was right below a photo of Barack Obama.

Political news is available through TPS in Urdu, but not entertainment news. So, boo hoo – no Urdu for you. You can read the interview by going to the following link.  The Pakistani Spectator. Scroll down through the political news.  Us “Notable Bloggers” are relegated to Entertainment under Interviews in the middle column.   My interview has since been bumped by more recent interviews, but you can find it if you go to the top of the page and click on Interviews. The Interview archives are organized by the date published.  My interview was published Nov. 24th just days before the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. 

With all of the turmoil in that region in the world, I think all of us can benefit by knowing more about each other.

Why I Blog August 24, 2008

Posted by alwaysjan in Blogging.
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2 comments

“Enough of your BS!” is my husband’s way of telling me he’s tired of hearing updates on my blog stats.  It’s bad enough that when I turn on my computer, he announces, “That’s Jan booting up.”  When I pop open my breakfast Classic Coke (children, do as I say, not as I do), he announces, “There’s the second sound that tells me Jan is alive.”  

When my friend Lesley was visiting from England, she grabbed her camera and snapped pictures of me, so as to capture, “the blogger in her natural habitat!”  Every time I was having a creative surge, she or her daughter, Lucy, would circle me like naturalists, and in that oh-so-charming English accent, narrate their observations on the strange habits of the “lesser blogger.”  

As you can see, I have to put up with a lot from these malcontents, who envy both my passion and keyboarding skills.  These incursions into my creative space are what I call blogus interruptus.

Before I started blogging, I often worked as a writer for hire.  I was good at it and paid well.  But I can’t say I enjoyed it (other than cashing the checks). Writing screenplays is like being an architect who designs buildings that are never made, or building the best sand castle ever – just before high tide. 

So, why do I blog?  I blog because words ricochet around inside my head 24/7, and blogging provides an exit wound.  Words are my best friends. They’re the friends who always want to play and never save a seat on the bus so I can’t sit there.  I like to play fast and loose with words, spinning them like gunslingers twirl six-shooters.  Sometimes I shoot myself in the foot, but the more I blog, the better my aim has become.  Life is funny like that.  

I also blog because I’m an artist.  Sometimes I work with paint, but increasingly, I like to paint pictures with words, and I like to use LOTS of color!  I’m a Fauvist sitting at a keyboard trying to get the colors just so. (It’s so true – it’s all in the rewrite!)  

I blog because I know I’m not just talking to myself.  I like having an audience.  I like it when people comment or I find they’ve linked my blog to theirs.  And when all eyes are me, I don’t want to disappoint.  Writers don’t have a right to bore people.  I know a thing or two, and like to share my experiences and observations.  Humor is my Trojan Horse.  It allows me to get inside the gate so I can be heard.  

As a third-grade teacher, I have a built-in audience, and although I have way too much fun with my students, they’re not my demographic.  When a student told me he wasn’t coming to school on Halloween because it’s the devil’s birthday, I blurted out, “But my birthday is in April!”  He walked away with a quizzical look on his face.   But you got it, didn’t you?  

Finally, when I’m sitting at my keyboard and writing, I feel like all is well with the world.  I think about my audience – family, friends, and all of the amazing people I never would have “bumped into” in cyberspace had it not been for my blog.  This brings a smile to my face.  Then, I begin to write.

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